Wisconsin Assembly Passes Pro-Life Bill to Ban Abortions After 20 Weeks

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 9, 2015   |   3:27PM   |   Madison, WI

The Wisconsin state Assembly has passed a groundbreaking pro-life bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks and the legislation now heads to pro-life Governor Scott Walker, who has already pledged to sign it into law. In Wisconsin, 89 babies lost their lives to abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in 2013 alone.

The state Assembly passed the pro-life measure on a 61-34 vote after a debate during which lawmakers described how unborn children are capable of feeling intense pain in abortions.

Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) said late-term abortions were devastating, violent procedures that caused fetuses unnecessary pain.

“This bill is not about banning abortion,” he said. “It is about protecting children who can feel pain.”

Senate President Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), one of the bill’s lead sponsors, has said she believes her legislation would survive a court battle. She and other bill supporters insist a fetus can feel pain by 20 weeks, but key medical groups disagree.

Wisconsin Right to Life thanked state legislators for supporting the key legislation protecting unborn children. The organization issued a statement to LifeNews:

“Wisconsin Right to Life thanks the Assembly for passing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act today,” stated Heather Weininger, Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life. “We are thrilled that this historic and lifesaving bill will be signed into law.”

Substantial medical evidence demonstrates that unborn children are capable of experiencing pain by 20 weeks after fertilization at the latest. At this time, all the physical structures necessary to experience pain have developed. Abortion methods used at 20 weeks and further into pregnancy, most commonly the D&E method where the child is dismembered limb by limb, are extremely painful to the unborn child.

Eleven states effectively protect pain-capable unborn children, and Wisconsin is now well on its way to becoming the twelfth.

“We thank the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’s authors Senator Mary Lazich and Representatives Jesse Kremer, Joe Sanfelippo, and Joan Ballweg for their leadership on this bill,” continued Heather Weininger, Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life. “These leaders recognize the compelling state interest in protecting the lives of pain-capable unborn children, and now we will soon protect up to 89 babies a year from the pain of abortion.”

The Planned Parenthood abortion business strongly opposed the bill but pro-life groups said its denial of fetal pain is at odds with science and medical evidence.

“There is substantial medical evidence indicating an unborn baby at 20 weeks post-fertilization is capable of feeling pain,” she said. “Planned Parenthood , who profits from the dismemberment of these children in the womb, knows that it’s in their best interest to fight a law they know will not only stand up in court, but also cut into their bottom line.”

“Planned Parenthood states on their website that on average, the cost of an abortion is approximately $1,500 nationwide, and that’s just for an early abortion. Later abortions cost even more. It makes one wonder what their real motive is – concern for the well-being of a mother, or for the money they will lose when they can’t profit from tearing a baby apart limb from limb,” continued Weininger.

According to WRTL, there is substantial medical evidence indicating unborn babies at 20 weeks post-fertilization age are capable of feeling pain and the group says the state has a compelling interest in protecting unborn children when they are capable of feeling pain. When there is substantial medical evidence in support of the state’s position, then a state can act on protecting unborn babies.

The bill requires abortion practitioners to determine the age of the unborn baby at the time of the abortion and prohibits any abortion on a baby aged 20 weeks or older.

Under the bill, parents who receive a fatal prenatal diagnoses will receive information about perinatal hospice so they can be provided adequate grief counseling and the support of the medical community.

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“I believe we have a duty and a moral obligation to protect these children from the horrific procedures used to snuff out their lives. The barbaric and painful mutilation of little children is something that no humane and compassionate society should tolerate,” Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, said in a statement about his bill.

He added: “Simply put, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will preserve and protect Wisconsin’s innocent, unborn babies who can feel pain. The call to preserve precious, human life transcends party lines. Thus, I hope to see bi-partisan support for this vital measure to protect Wisconsin’s unborn from needless pain and suffering.”

Earlier this year, Walker said he would back the bill and sign it into law.

“As the Wisconsin legislature moves forward in the coming session, further protections for mother and child are likely to come to my desk in the form of a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. I will sign that bill when it gets to my desk and support similar legislation on the federal level. I was raised to believe in the sanctity of life and I will always fight to protect it.”

The position is not a new one as Walker co-sponsored legislation in 1998 while he was a member of the Wisconsin state legislature to ban abortions after 20 weeks.

The letter adds:

Life is a value I learned from my parents, and it’s a value I have cherished every day, predating my time in politics. My policies throughout my career have earned a 100% rating with pro-life groups in Wisconsin. Just in my first term I signed numerous pieces of pro-life legislation and I will continue working for every life.

In my past four years as governor, we have made substantial progress in the fight for our pro-life values in Wisconsin. We defunded Planned Parenthood. We prohibited abortion from being covered by health plans in a health exchange. We passed legislation assuring the women and their unborn child are better protected under law – through placing stringent requirements on medical professionals and requiring the provision of thorough and vital information to the mother.

I was raised to believe in the sanctity of life and I will always fight to protect it.

Pro-life groups were delighted by Walker’s letter.

“Wisconsin Right to Life is very happy to hear that Governor Walker intends to sign a bill that would protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain,” stated Heather Weininger, Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life. “In light of this excellent news, we urge the Wisconsin State Legislature to pass a bill to protect pain-capable unborn children as soon as possible.”